Bobcats resolving some unfinished business this season

When Tipoff, our winter sports magazine published early last winter, the Brandywine cover read: “Unfinished business: Bobcats, Lady Cats focused on finals.”

Looking back now, I don’t think there could have been a more accurate description of the winter sports season.

As the postseason wraps up for winter athletics, Brandywine boasts three conference titles, three district titles and two regional titles — and they’re still going!

Friday night, the Brandywine boys basketball team won its first district title in 15 years in an intense matchup with the Bridgman Bees. And although they lost by a heartbreaking three points in the first game of the regional tournament Monday night, I couldn’t be more proud of how far Coach Nathan Knapp has brought the Brandywine basketball program.

Last month, the Brandywine wrestling team won its 11th straight district wrestling title, and the Brandywine bowling team won its first ever regional championship.

It is certainly a great year to be a Bobcat.

Throughout the last dozen years, I’ve watched hundreds of Bobcat basketball games.

I’ve cheered on the court to pep up the crowd. I’ve yelled from the cafeteria during breaks working concession stands. I’ve even screamed at the radio from my living room.

But very few Bobcat basketball experiences compare to last Thursday night, when I had the opportunity to cheer on the Bobcats alongside hundreds of fans when the Lady Cats won the regional championship.

It gave me goose bumps to look around the Constantine gymnasium, which was 75 percent full of maroon and gold.

The student section was completely filled. Teachers, administrators, bus drivers and other faculty filled another section of Bobcat fans, and an even bigger portion of the gym was filled with parents, community members and alumni like myself.

It was like a high school reunion — 35 miles from the high school.

Since then, the team has gone on to win the state quarterfinals. Today they play at Michigan State University in the semifinal game.

In the many years that I’ve been a part of the Brandywine community, I’ve often noted how special our fan base is, but the support has continuously grown throughout the years.

Is this because our teams are so successful, or are our teams successful in part because of that support?

I think it’s a little bit of both.

Our athletes are fueled by the fans — and our fans are fueled by the athletes. The louder the crowd gets, the harder our players play. This energy is probably why so many of the boys and girls basketball games have been so emotional.

School is closing at 11 a.m. so students and staff can make the trip to MSU and I have no doubt the Breslin Center will be packed with Bobcat fans as the ladies continue on their quest for the state championship.

Let’s keep the Lady Cats pumped up and working hard so we can add another title to our already excellent stack of trophies for 2016.


Ambrosia Neldon is the managing editor at Leader Publications. She can be reached by phone at (269) 687-7713, or by email at



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